Few MLS teams have showcased more of a Jekyll and Hyde personality than Real Salt Lake when it comes to comparing how the club performs at home and on the road.
Up to this point in the season, RSL have been virtually unstoppable in Utah. Salt Lake is enjoying a nine-game home unbeaten streak that includes last week’s back-to-back wins over Western Conference powers FC Dallas and Sporting Kansas City. Away from home, it is a completely different story. RSL have a single win and a draw in nine road matches.
Will the narrative change at all against Minnesota United FC on Saturday? Only if Salt Lake’s recent run of offensive success remains intact.
Salt Lake (9-8-2, 29 points) is tied for fourth place in the West with Portland after outscoring Dallas and Kansas City a combined 6-2. The Utah club seemingly found its offensive stride in those decisive home wins. Salt Lake averaged 16 shots and 6.5 shots on goal over the two matches.
More importantly, RSL showed a knack for keeping the ball away from their opponents. They finished with a clear advantage in possession in both matches.
“It’s fun,” RSL coach Mike Petke told the team’s official website. “We’ve been good at home. We’ve got results at home. ... Any week you can get six points, two wins in a row, against the top team in the West on that day, it’s special and it’s a great feeling.”
Minnesota has struggled to do much right on either side of the ball lately. The Loons (6-11-1, 19 points) have dropped four of their last five MLS matches. During that stretch, they have yielded 14 goals while generating just seven of their own.
Four of those goals were produced in Minnesota’s most recent home match, a 4-3 victory over Toronto FC on July 4. The Loons jumped on Toronto with a pair of early goals and held on late for the full three points. They are confident they can do similar things against an RSL team that has been outscored 23-5 in nine road matches.
“It is another difficult game for us, but as we have proved at home we are more than a match for anybody,” Minnesota coach Adrian Heath told the team’s official website. “ started well, then they had that rocky period, and then they have come back again. If we can have a similar performance as we did against Toronto then it should be a good evening.”
Saturday’s match begins a stretch of four home games in five matches for Minnesota. Start time is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET.
—Field Level Media